31 MAY 1957, Page 26


SIR,—I will be most grateful if you will permit me to comment on A. J. Wilson's generous notice of my The Eighty-Five Days. I did take notice of the opinions of the German generals, and indeed there can be no question but that the enemy was utterly defeated in mid-August, 1944. No informed person in the field or out of it doubted this at the time. Any other war would have been over. My basic point is that it was politically, militarily and logistically impossible to take advantage of the German collapse.

Since 'War—like politics—is the art of the possible,' I believe that a great opportunity was lost in clinging over-long to the impossible. Unfortunately, the change-over in command also confused the issues.

May I also make it clear that in my view Field- Marshal Montgomery as a soldier was a first-class professional amongst enthusiastic amateurs, and there is no just comparison between him and General Eisenhower. Eisenhower's job was basically political, and at a time when American strength in the field was rapidly outnumbering our own. I think Eisen- hower held the balance militarily and politically with great skill and justice in 1944. Nineteen hundred and forty-five is a different story.—Yours faithfully,

The Mill House, Belchamp Walter, Sudbury, Suffolk